Sunday, September 30, 2007

What's Next?

W.M. Jordan crews will put up temporary walls in the lobby area the week of October 1st to block off the old store so that the new admissions and Guest Services area can be built. Opening in early 2008, the new admissions area will be the last area turned over to the aquarium until Fall 2008.

Favorite Exhibits Find New Home!

Many of the interactive exhibits that were located in the galleries that are now being renovated have been moved to other areas of the aquarium. The large wave tank, a favorite of school groups, was moved last Spring to the Promenade hallway. Last week employees of Hardwood Concepts installed the cabinetry for the wave tank - just in time for several facility rental events! Tim Scott, Curator of Scientific Exhibits, projected that the exhibit should be fully functional in just a few weeks.

Red Sea Aquarium Area Takes Shape

As piling work for the red sea aquarium nears completion work on the 2nd floor service area has begun. Steel support beams for the 2nd floor can be seen in the upper right of the photo below.

New Store Opens!

The new aquarium store opened on September 28th. Although Ruth Ann is still waiting on a few fixtures the new store looks great! Special thanks to Chuck Arthur and John Gresock who picked out the fabric that is being used to line the jewelry cases (you guys have quite the eye for color!)

Stop by and visit or, better yet, buy something!

"Signage" Added to Help Guests Navigate

In response to guest feedback the aquarium's signage team met to review guest flow and navigation through the areas being renovated. Several large signs were added to help guests find their way.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

W. M. Jordan Intern Set To Go Back To School

Noah Abrhams, an intern with W.M Jordan assigned to the aquarium project, will be returning to school in about a week. His last day at the job site will be August 10th. Noah, a 19 year old sophomore at Virginia Tech is from Matthews, VA. He's majoring in building construction. This is his first summer with W.M. Jordan and he spent the past two year framing custom homes. When he's not under the watchful eye of Chuck Arthur, Noah spends his time on the water wakeboarding and fishing, he also snowboards in the winter months. Upon graduation Noah hopes to obtain a job in the construction industry and, in his words, "hopefully become a great superintendent like my hero, Chuck Arthur." - sounds like a grade or two weighs on an eval from Chuck! If you get a chance wish Noah good luck as he starts his second year at Tech!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Store Nears Completion

With just a few weeks until the soft opening the store is starting to really take shape. Most of the dry wall work has been completed and it should be painted this week. Ruth Ann's staff and volunteers needed some space to do pricing and merchandising so Chuck Arthur and John Gresock came up with a plan and turned an area that won't be built out for a while into a work space. Thanks Chuck and John!

WOW! Now, that is cool!

Chuck's crew has been hard at work removing concrete so that the pilings which will support the new red sea aquarium can be installed. The pictures below show the opening that was made in the original exhibit gallery. The last picture is a shot of one of the pilings that's already been installed.

Bye Bye Weather Deck, Hello New Exhibit Space!

Rest Rooms Taking Shape!

All the plumbing work has been completed and drywall is going up. Tile work will be completed this week and the new (and improved) restrooms should open up at the end of this month! Pictured below is the women's rest room.

Cable Tray? - GREAT IDEA

Although the original plan called for conduit to be installed in the back service hall for cable runs Claude (electrical foreman) from L.E. Ballance Electrical suggested a cable tray. The sub contractors working on a/v issues as well as the aquariums operations staff and scientific exhibits staff are all very happy with the recommendation! It will make everyone's life much easier. THANKS CLAUDE. To learn more about the electrical subcontractor visit their website at:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Demolition Begins

Crews from WM Jordan have begun demolition in several areas. The admissions lobby is almost ready for construction of the new store to begin and everything has been removed in the lower restrooms (including the walls).

All of the temporary walls are in place as well. Prior to WM Jordan demo'ing the exhibit gallery exhibits staff have been hard at work removing exhibit components to be used elsewhere. Thev've also stumbled across some stuff from the early days of the aquarium, including a curator they found behind an exhibit wall!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Earth Shattering Event

City officals, Aquarium board members, volunteers and staff were all on hand for Thursday's "Earth Shattering Event" - the official kick off of the renovation. After hearing from the Aquarium's Director, our "super supportive" Mayor, Board President and State Delegate Bob Tata a wrecking ball, in the shape of the planet, was launched into one of the original gallery walls taking out a good size chunk and beginning the demolition process. Chuck Arthur (W.M. Jordan) commented afterwards "keep going... it's less work for us!"

Monday, March 5, 2007

Offices Relocated

Last week the Volunteer Resources Office and the Volunteer Lounge were moved to the north side of the classroom. Guest Services moved to the south side. The Guest Services staff love their new window view. Cecelia Campbell (Facility Sales Coordinator) has already named one of the squirrels living outside her office. Additionally, the workshop area in the Bay & Ocean Pavilion was broken down and moved to the Marsh Pavilion. A smaller workshop is being created so the Scientific Exhibits staff can keep up with the exhibits that will remain open during the renovation.

Cyd Halstead (Guest Services Supervisor) and Katherine Miller (Graphics Designer) came up with a plan for directing guests to the temporary ticketing area. Our young guests love "hopping" on the turtles and following them to the admissions desk.

Monday, February 26, 2007

New Ray Touch Pool Opens

The aquarium's new ray touch pool opened promptly at noon on Saturday, February 24th. The aquarium's fishes staff came in extra early and moved the remaining rays from the old exhibit to the new one. Prior to being introduced into the new aquarium they were examined and weighed. Over 5400 guests visited the aquarium this weekend and all of them got a chance to see the rays in their new home.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

New Ray Touch Pool Opens Feb 24

The final touches are being added to the new Ray Aquarium. The touch pool will open at noon on February 24th. The current ray exhibit, originally designed as a temporary exhibit, has proven to be one of the most popular attractions at the aquarium. The opening of the new exhibit is just one of the first steps in the aquarium's renovation project. The admissions desk will be temporarily relocated to the IMAX lobby and the guest services office, volunteer resources office, and the volunteer lounge will be moved to the classroom on March 1st. Expect to see temporary walls in place by mid-March and major demolition will follow soon after.

Penguin Exhibit Opens

The aquarium's new temporary exhibit, Penguins: Birds of Play, opened on Saturday, February 17th. Over 3500 guests visited the aquarium on Saturday, making it one of the busiest February days on record! The exhibit features six African Blackfooted penguins and numerous hands on interactives exhibits (all designed by Virginia Aquarium staff). Penguins: Birds of Play will run through Labor Day, 2007.